The Western New England University athletics department extends its sincere condolences to the Plutino Family on the loss of this true American hero.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Sandrino Plutino was a true American hero.
The former Western New England student-athlete and Army Ranger was laid to rest Friday (Aug. 19) after being killed 11 days ago in Afghanistan.
A native of Pitman, New Jersey, Plutino served as a Team Leader in B Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He was in the final weeks of his sixth tour of duty when he died following an enemy attack in Paktia Province.
Plutino, who would have turned 29 next Tuesday, had called home just hours before leaving for his mission to reassure his family that he was all right following news that 30 American soldiers (including 22 Navy SEALs) were killed the day before in a helicopter crash rushing to help Army Rangers.
"He should have been out in March, but he left on this special mission March 7 - he said he had to," Plutino's mother Dianne Hammond told NJ.com.
While at Western New England, Plutino played defensive back on the football team and was a member of the wrestling squad. He attended school here for two years before transferring to Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.
"Sandrino was quite a person," said WNE assistant wrestling coach Dwayne Dawson. "Even though he transferred from here, he stayed in touch with us and came back several times to watch his sister Brenna play women's lacrosse and watch some wrestling matches."
Plutino also is survived by his father Sandro Plutino, sister Brenna Plutino, his grandmother Carmelina of Narina di Massa, Italy, who is visiting this summer, and his fiancée Natalie Layton of Glassboro, New Jersey.
Brenna Plutino was a member of the women's lacrosse team at Western New England from 2001-03 and also served as an assistant coach with the program.